Rendering

 

This final rendered image brings together all the steps of the pipeline. Rendering calculated the color of every pixel. Each frame in this scene took about 33 hours to render.

Rendering turns a virtual 3D scene into a 2D image

What is rendering?

The virtual scene is set — the characters are shaded and posed, the lights and camera are in position, and the simulations are ready to run. But no one knows what it looks like until the rendering process turns all that data and programming into an image we can see by determining the color of each pixel in the image.

What does a rendering technical director do?

Rendering technical directors optimize the process of turning data into final 2D images. Scenes don’t always render perfectly the first time. Rendering TDs come in and try to figure out what went wrong.

The wireframe in left half of this frame from Inside Out is a visualization of the data that define the scene. The right side is the final rendered image.

The wireframe in left half of this frame from Inside Out is a visualization of the data that define the scene. The right side is the final rendered image.

Videos and Activities

Pixar’s Rendering Challenge

Computing the color of a pixel

Pixar’s Rendering Challenge

Yasmin Khan

Rendering Supervisor

Yasmin Khan

Rendering Workstation

Balance render time and image quality

Control some of the factors that effect the render time of an image from Ratatouille. See how increasing the size of a crowd or the sample rate change both the quality of the image and the amount of time it takes to render the final image.

Resources

Pixar in a Box

Follow the link for a lesson on Rendering.

Ask a Pixar Scientist

  • I'm a little confused on the whole rendering process. They said it takes at least around 24 hours to render 1 frame, and that there are 24 frames in a second. If you take a 100 minute movie, then it would take around 400 years to render that many frames. I understand that they would have many machines, but even with 400 machines it would still take a year just to render. My best guess is they have around that many machines or maybe more, and they render as they go so they don't have to wait a year after finishing the movie to render, but I would appreciate a little more explanation.
    — Jay
    Pixar has a huge "render farm," which is basically a supercomputer composed of 2000 machines, and 24,000 cores. This makes it one of the 25 largest supercomputers in the world. That said, with all that computing power, it still took two years to render Monster's University.
    — Peter Collingridge